How do we determine which cities are and are not affordable? The standard of home affordability compares income to housing costs, including mortgage or rent payments, homeowners insurance and utilities. If these expenses exceed 30% of a person's income, they are considered to be burdened by their housing costs. We took this information and analyzed the top 20 New York cities in terms of population, diving deep into homeowner and renter housing costs.
Top cities in New York are all affordable for homeowners, judging by housing costs not exceeding 30% of median income. The least affordable city, Ramapo, has homeowners spending 27.95% percent of their income on housing costs.
New York renters contribute significant portions of their incomes to housing, with 18 of the top 20 cities having renter affordability exceeding 30% of income annually. The least affordable city for renters was again Ramapo, where renters pay 51.14% of their income toward housing.
Interestingly enough, Manhattan was not found as the most expensive borough of New York City. In fact, Brooklyn was the least affordable borough for homeowners and the Bronx for renters in New York City.
Most and Least Affordable Cities for Homeowners in New York
Buffalo was the most affordable city for New York state homeowners and was the only major city where it was more cost effective to own your home than to rent. On average, residents of Buffalo paid 22% less than the state mean for homeowners insurance. Homeowners in Buffalo are spending 15.32% of their income or $8,232 on housing annually. Across the cities analyzed, Buffalo’s annual household income was the second lowest at $53,747, only higher than Rochester.
Besides Ramapo, Long Island towns in Suffolk and Nassau counties round out the list for least affordable places to live in New York. Babylon homeowners spend 27.22% of their income on housing, with Islip, Brookhaven and Hempstead home owners spending roughly 25% of their income annually.
Most and Least Affordable Cities for Renters
Sitting approximately 30 miles north of New York City, the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County was the most affordable for renters. Here, renters had the highest annual income across the Top 20 cities in New York at $74,774 and only 27.62% or $20,652 of renter’s annual income was spent on housing.
On the other hand, Ramapo and Rochester are the least affordable cities in New York for renters. Rochester renters had a median monthly housing cost of $807 monthly or $9,684 annually, which was one of the lowest housing costs across the entire state. However, with a renter median income of $22,546, renters living here paid 42.95% of their annual income on housing alone.
Several Suffolk County cities (Brookhaven, Huntington, Smithtown) also ranked among the least affordable places to live for renters, spending over 40% of their annual income on housing.
Affordability of Boroughs in New York City
New York City, having the highest population in the state, has a reputation of being extremely expensive. Across all five boroughs of the city, made up of Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island, renters’ median housing cost was $16,080 annually and homeowners paid $21,060 annually; broken out, however, typical housing costs change significantly from borough to borough.
Manhattan renters and homeowners had the highest annual income, but based on housing costs, was the most affordable. The least affordable New York City borough varies between homeowners and renters. Homeowners in Brooklyn spent 24.99% of their annual income on housing, making it the least affordable borough. Renters in the Bronx spent 44.86% of their income on housing, which is the highest among all boroughs for renters.
Homeowners in Staten Island paid the most annually for housing at $23,640, though this was only 24.28% of their annual income. On the plus side, residents of Staten Island paid on average $1,382 per year for home insurance, which was $939 less than the average cost in New York City.
We analyzed population and housing cost data from the Census Bureau's American FactFinder database. The 20 major New York towns and cities included in our analysis had a population of more than 84,000 as of the 2010 Census.
Homeowners' costs additionally take into account property taxes, home insurance and could include flood insurance, depending on the owner’s policy.
More information pertaining to Standard Home Affordability can be found here.
New York Top 20 Cities:
|City||Annual homeowner income||Homeowner housing costs||Homeowner affordability||Annual renter income||Renter housing costs||Renter affordability|
|New York City||$92,707||$1,755||22.72%||$44,480||$1,340||36.15%|
New York City Boroughs:
|NYC Borough||Annual homeowner income||Homeowner housing costs||Homeowner affordability||Annual renter income||Renter housing costs||Renter affordability|